How does that saying go—cold hands, warm heart? Well, on my freezing, wintry trail adventures, I do about everything I can to keep my hands warm since Raynaud’s syndrome-type symptoms and the “screaming barfies” are aspects of winter “fun” I try to avoid. I have a variety of thin wool and fleece liners I use to add warmth to a second layer of gloves or mittens, but Black Diamond now has two pairs of very warm gloves targeted for use during higher-output endurance activities like trail running, skiing, and winter hiking when the chill really settles in. If cold hands are a struggle for you, the Black Diamond Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves ($50) and the Black Diamond Wind Hood Softshell Gloves ($50) may be great options.
Black Diamond Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves
The Black Diamond Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves are incredibly soft, high-pile, 305-gram stretch polyester fleece gloves, In short, they are the epitome of cozy. If Black Diamond made this material into a lounge jogger and hoody set, I’d buy two. They are listed in their Liner Series Gloves category and weigh approximately 64 grams per pair (2.25 ounces), but you’d need a fairly voluminous shell mitten or glove to fit over the top.
On the casual-use side, I find them perfect for dog walks and school commutes in temperatures ranging from 25 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (-4 to 7 degrees Celsius). The goat-leather palm and 305-gram U|R Powered material lining each of the fingers work well for gripping the leash, cell phone, and steering wheel. I also notice very little wear despite a couple months of near-daily use. This glove does indeed allow me to use my cell-phone screen as long as actual typing isn’t involved—fat fingers and small letters render voice text much more efficient.
I am pleasantly surprised by how low of a temperature I am able to use these gloves for trail running without needing a liner or shell on calm, dry days. Despite the manufacturer’s recommendation of use in temperatures between 21 and 40 F (-6 to 4 C), I found that anything above 30 F while running results in a fair amount of hand sweating after about 30 minutes. These gloves are somewhat less breathable than comparable fleece gloves due to the leather palm. The wicking material lining as well as the DWR treatment mitigate the resulting potential for chill well, however, and they dry within a few hours once I take them off at the end of the run. Below 10 F (-12 C), I usually start my run with a liner or shell which I then remove after about 30 minutes once I fully warm up. Light flurries and mild breezes are no problem at all, but a wind-blown heavy squall is definitely sub-optimal for keeping the gloves dry and the weather out. Just for fun, I tested them on a few 35 to 45 F (1 to 7 C) fat-bike rides and found them to be warm enough unless the wind kicked up. Again, the materials on the palm and fingers enhance the grip, allowing me to stay firm on the bars and shifters without a problem.
The sizing is unisex, and the medium fits my hands well with a bit of extra room, which I do prefer. The 2-inch wrist extension seals out the elements really well and fits either beneath your coat sleeve or on top depending on the volume of your coat’s wrist opening. I’m pretty sure these Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves will find their way into my camping bag for early and later season camping—so, so cozy. Dear Black Diamond, please make this material into socks also. And perhaps a hooded camping onesie–I’m not kidding.
Black Diamond Wind Hood Softshell Gloves
In the Black Diamond Wind Hood Softshell Gloves, the company combined its time-tested four-way-stretch, highly breathable softshell material with 100-gram Primaloft Gold insulation and a windproof, highly-water-resistant, breathable Pertex Endurance hood to make a trustworthy, warm, and protective barrier against much of what winter can throw at you as an endurance athlete. The Wind Hood Softshell Gloves are worthy of winter-running forays above treeline and lower-country adventures when the challenging elements make sitting on the couch with a cappuccino an enticing option. They’re also versatile and grippy enough for fat biking, ski touring, and dog romps thanks to the goat leather lining the palm and inner fingers of the glove. The unisex fit, consistent with the other Black Diamond gloves, accommodates a thin wool liner as needed, which adds peace of mind on longer outings in harsh elements.
Black Diamond lists these gloves in their Lightweight Series, and at only 95 grams (3.35 ounces), given the protection they offer, they fit the bill. The temperature range for the gloves is listed as 25 to 40 F (-4 to 4 C), but I find them to be warmer than the Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves primarily due to the wind protection—often a necessary component here in the Colorado Front Range. Because of the warmth created by the leather palm side and the Pertex hood (Pertex covers the thumb at all times), I am able to use the gloves easily for running in temperatures down to 0 F (-18 C) and down to -10 F (-23 C) if I add a liner. Above 25 F (-4 C), my hands get fairly sweaty during high-energy-output endeavors, even with the Pertex hood stowed in the wide but low-profile pocket on the back of the hand. The breathability of the softshell allows heat and moisture to escape fairly efficiently as long as one’s own personal “temperature ceiling” is noted. On the fat bike, I can wear the gloves at temperatures down to about 15 F (-9 F) with a liner.
The only aspect of this glove I’d choose to improve is the wrist gauntlet or a lack thereof in this case. My size medium has approximately 1.5 inches of stretchy fabric extending up the wrist, which is about 1.5 inches too short. I find the opening to be rather drafty given it has the tendency to pop out from under my coat sleeve and is also unable to stay on top of my outer layer. The material itself is very comfortable, I’d just make it longer.
I should also note, the glove description does say the thumb and index finger have conductive fabric for touchscreen use. However, I am not able to activate my cell-phone screen at all while wearing these gloves. To me, this isn’t a limiting factor—I always remove my gloves to use my phone anyway.
Black Diamond Gloves Overall Impressions
The Black Diamond Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves and the Black Diamond Wind Hood Softshell Gloves raise the bar for warding off wintry elements and maintaining warm hands while running and adventuring in cold climates for those of us who struggle with such things. They’re designed for high-energy-output activities, but even dog walking and outdoor socially distanced cafe visits are well within their capabilities. I’m impressed with the durability of both pairs as they’ve been duly tested with hundreds of miles on trails in the great outdoors and by the leashes of my two very active dogs on our daily runs and walks. Both pairs have survived three rounds of hand washing and line drying (per the manufacturer’s recommendations) unscathed, and the clips that keep the gloves paired are as solidly functioning as on day one. I know many people in my running circles that don’t need gloves this warm and burly, but for those of us who do, you’ll do well to give them a try.
Call for Comments
- Are you running in either the Black Diamond Super HeavyWeight ScreenTap Gloves or the Wind Hood Softshell Gloves? What do you think of them for this purpose?
- For what other sports or activities do you use these gloves?
- What details of each glove do you like? And what do you think can be improved?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]